St. Louis, MO- A former employee for Sweetie Pies, a popular restaurant featured in an OWN reality show, filed a federal lawsuit alleging she was sexually harassed by a coworker.
In her lawsuit, filed with a U.S. District Court, Veronica Tate alleges that in the week she worked for the iconic famous restaurant, “Ike” touched her inappropriately and made lewd comments to her even though she made it clear she was married.
The sexual harassment, Tate alleges, began on her first day at work when “Ike” touched her and continued on her next day at work. Then, Tate alleges, “Ike” approached her with something behind his apron to insinuate he had an erection, saying “This is what I got for you,” the St. Louis Business Journal reported.
Tate’s filing says “Ike’s” inappropriate behavior kept occurring on her shifts until the later in the month she approached restaurant manager Chris and head cook Mrs. Barbara. Tate alleges when she told them about “Ike’s” behavior and they seemed unconcerned, alluding the fact that it was just in his nature, according to the Business Journal.
After lodging several complaints, Tate finally spoke with the restaurant’s business manager, who finally, after numerous calls, offered a position at another location, but she alleges he never contacted her again to make the transfer happen.
Frustrated, Tate contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and filed a formal complaint in February of 2013. The Business Journal reported that Tate was issued the right to sue and she is seeking a trial by jury.
For a successful sexual harassment suit, victims should turn to a sexual harassment attorney to build an effective case on their behalf.
A representative of Sweetie Pies has not responded to request for comments.
The restaurant is owned by Robbie Montgomery, who once sang back-up for Ike and Tina Turner, and is featured in the reality show “Sweetie Pies” on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network.
We don’t know it the allegations against Sweetie Pies is true, but it would come as no surprise if they are considering the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry.
In survey from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United of 5,000 restaurant workers, 90 percent of the female respondents said they had been subjected to sexual harassment. Two-thirds of the time, the harasser was a boss, while 80 percent said the harasser was coworker or customer.
Male restaurant workers faced frequent sexual harassment as well with over half of the men surveyed saying a boss had sexually harassed them. Seventy percent said they had been harassed by a coworker and 55 said customers had harassed them.
In fact, 37 percent of the sexual harassment complaints received by the EEOC originate out of the restaurant industry. In a statement the ROC criticized the restaurant industry for the casual attitude towards sexual harassment stating the problem is so persistent, it has been “normalized” in the industry.
Sexual harassment is embarrassing, degrading and humiliating for the victim. They shouldn’t have to endure this every time they go to work and if their employers refuses to help them, they can contact a sexual harassment attorney to figure out what the steps they need to take next.